Environment

April 2014

Everyone seems to agree that this winter was brutal. The Atlantic Provinces were hit particularly hard. Winter started in early December and continued through until April. One of the worst blizzards ever recorded on the east coast hit in the end of March, followed by a fierce freezing rain storm just a few days later.

Radio shows, newspaper stories and conversations dwelt upon the nasty weather and how expensive and demoralizing it was.

One thing that has struck me through all this is how people are not taking any responsibility for what has happened.

How, you might ask, can mere humans feel responsible for the weather? We don’t control the winds or the clouds.

Ah, but there’s the rub! Our actions have most definitely affected the weather. Scientists have been warning us for decades that if we didn’t reduce our carbon emissions,by finding less harmful ways to run our vehicles, heat our homes, gather our food and spend our leisure hours, global warming would be inevitable.

Well, folks, the affects of global warming are here and we are paying the piper. Severe and unpredictable weather systems are the harbangers of global warming. An increase in hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes is exactly what scientists have been telling us would happen. Why are we surprised and dismayed that it has occurred?

I guess it’s easier to blame Mother Nature. People will gripe and complain about the weather, but do nothing to alter it. Unless we all work very hard to fight global warming and climate change, I believe these weather systems will become the norm.

We need to put pressure – real pressure – on our governments to make environmental issues their priorities. We need to look at our wasteful habits and change them, not someday, but right now. Because if we don’t make those changes immediately, I am afraid we will be in for many more challenging climate events.

 

December 2013

I was listening to the CBC the other day in my car, and the discussion was examining the amount of waste that people produce during the Christmas season. The interviewee quoted some stats (from the UK) that were alarming. Tons of extra trash get sent to landfills every December. If we look at the envirnomental impact of Christmas around the world, it is staggering.

None of us wants to give up our Christmas fun and gift-giving. So is there a way to help the environment and still enjoy our holiday traditions?

The radio program offered some suggestions. Reusing gift bags and wrapping paper cuts down on the paper going to the landfill or recycling depot. Using wrapping paper that is just paper, rather than the plastic or metallic types mean that it can be recycled. Rather than throwing out old appliances and furniture when given new ones, donate them to a charity. Give gift cards or certificates rather than “stuff”. Buy gifts locally. Find creative ways to reuse your Christmas tree – mulch it for your garden or use it as a birdfeeder.

Here are some other ideas that friends and I have tried:

Think of creative wrappings/packaging other than wrapping paper – a tea towel, cookie tin, basket, or the coloured comics in newspapers.

Give donations to charities as gifts.

Make gifts rather than buying them – baked goods, crafts

What ways have you thought about for having a “green” CHristmas? Why not share them here?

 

 

 

 

 

I was chatting with a group of friends last night, and the state of the world came up. As one might expect, the tone of the conversation was pretty gloomy. GMO foods, radioactive waste, and deadly chemicals in our air and water were some of the general topics.

It is hard not to throw up our hands in despair and think that there is nothing “regular” people can do. We feel helpless to alter the machinizations of government and big business, and so feel hopeless.

Helplessness is an emotion I do not cope with well. I guess most of us don’t. And so I have asked myself what I can do to make changes – How can I make the world a better, safer, more ecologalically friendly place?

These are the things I strive to do. All by myself, it is a tiny drop in the bucket. But if all Canadians did these things, it would be 30 million times greater, and would have an impact.

I walk rather than drive whenever possible, and car pool when I can.

I grow an organic vegetable garden.

I buy locally and avoid shopping at large box stores.

I frequent gently used clothing stores, rarely purchasing new clothing.

I reduce the amount of energy I consume by turning off lights, powering off unused appliances and turning down thermostats.

I sort my garbage and compost organics.

I give donations to conscientious charities forĀ  Christmas gifts.

I hang my clothes on the line to dry them, rather than running the drier.

I am tolerant of others’ lifestyles, religions and cultures.

I buy fair trade products when purchasing non-local items.

These things have not totally changed my own lifestyle, nor will they save the world. Not by themselves. What things can you do to help Mother Earth? I invite you to comment, and share your ideas!

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